Watch: Ritson on how Dove’s Real Beauty campaign found the perfect balance between long and short

In this latest video looking back at 50 years of Effies case studies, Mark Ritson explains how market research into beauty industry stereotypes and a balance between long- and short-term investment led to Dove’s ‘Real Beauty’ campaign and a sales boost.

Dove’s ‘Campaign for Real Beauty’ is one of the most celebrated examples of brand purpose over the past two decades, successfully transitioning it from a maker of creamy soap to a stalwart of the beauty category.

To come up with the campaign, Dove-owner Unilever dug into the data around how women thought about beauty. What they discovered is what Marketing Week columnist Mark Ritson describes in this video as the “most discouraging and depressing data he has seen anywhere”, which led to the creation of a campaign that aimed to make women feel beautiful by broadening the definition of beauty.

While spots such as ‘Evolution’ and ‘Tested on Real Curves’ built the brand, Ritson explains how Dove was actually running a two-pronged approach. Alongside these emotional and culturally relevant ads for the masterbrand were category-specific ads that boosted mental availability and salience for their products.

The campaign is a prime example of the 60/40 split between long-term and short-term marketing that marketing analyst Peter Field and adam&eveDDB head of effectiveness Les Binet have advocated. And indeed, when Dove pulled back on the brand spend in 2008, it saw sales fall.

This video is the fourth in a series where Ritson reveals the stories and strategy behind some of the most effective campaigns ever based on case studies from 50 years of the Effies. Brands featured include Tide, Gillette and Lidl, as we examine what makes marketing more effective.

You’ll be able to see more in the series on our dedicated marketing effectiveness page.

Mark Ritson teaches the Mini MBA in Marketing. For more information go to the Mini MBA website.